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Alaska Highway Benchmarks Research Project

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As discussed in a previous thread, I have found information on a series of USC&GS benchmarks in Yukon Territory, Canada. I actually located one of them before the snow fell.


These marks were placed in 1943 on an expedition led by a Capt. Bowie, and are located along the Alaska highway with a few along the White Pass and Yukon railway.


I applied for and recieved a research grant to do two things:


1. Locate and document, through photographs, maps, drawings and descriptions of the area, as many of the marks as I can. Using historical material I want to be able to do some "then and now" type of stuff, if possible.


2. Do archival research to learn more about the expedition, especially the personal stories of those involved, both as members of the expedition and members of the local community.


Hopefully, I will be able to structure the project so that specific photos, stories, etc. are tied to a specific benchmark.


My main product will be a website, so anyone who is interested will be able to view the project.


If anyone has any information that might be helpful, I would love for you to get in touch with me: anthony.delorenzo@gmail.com


Watch this thread for further updates.





PS: Yep, I'm getting money to go benchmark hunting! :mad:

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If you've got any information on where the data sheets can be found I'd appreciate it. My wife and I are beginning the long drive south from Anchorage to North Carolina via the Alcan and had hoped we could do some benchmarking along the way, particularly in Canada since we might not get another chance anytime soon.


Good luck on your endeavours though, sounds like a cause I'd want to join you on were my home coordinates a little closer :mad:

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If you've got any information on where the data sheets can be found I'd appreciate it.


The particular benchmarks that I am looking for don't have any datasheets in the US system, although some of them do have US PIDs. None of them will be loggable on geocaching.com either.


Fortunately, some of them were incorporated into the Canadian system. There are a bunch along the Alaska highway between Whitehorse and the Alaska border at Beaver Creek that are serving as part of our geodetic network now.


Datasheets for these benchmarks, as well as the rest of our Canadian benchmark system, can be accessed through the

Canada Geodetic Survey Division. If you are specifically interested in the 1943 USC&GS marks, I can send you a spreadsheet with the details -- email me.




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I've had several inquiries about what sort of grant I got, and how I got it.


I applied to the Yukon Historical Resources Fund. A lot of the work on the project will actually involve doing archive work and typical historical research. The cool part is doing the fieldwork to link this information to the physical benchmarks.


Basically, I am just trying to tell some of the stories about building the Alaska highway, in what I hope is a different and an interesting way.


Once I get my initial website for the project up and running, I plan to post my grant application for those who are interested. Likely be a few weeks before that happens.




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Well, after being put on hold for a while due to moving, I've finally started doing some fieldwork for this project. So far I have recovered 10 marks, covering two 1:50,000 map sheets and about 30 km of the Alaska Highway.


The historical research is also coming along, albeit slowly.


I've started to develop the project website, and I am offering the users here a sneak preview of the first five benchmark pages. Feedback is very welcome at this stage, especially on the quicktime panoramas.


If they don't work in your web browser, and you do have quicktime installed, please let me know. I do plan on making the quicktime files smaller. They are currently 200-400 K-bytes, so the pages that have panoramas will be slow on dial-up.


Project website: Surveying the Alaska Highway 1943


I had a lot of fun finding these. Scaled coordinates and 60-year old descriptions are of little use when the highway route has changed and all the old landmarks are gone. To be successful, I find I really have to use everything: topo maps, datasheets, coordinates, elevation (my GPS has a pressure altimiter), odometer, problem-solving skills, guesswork, perserverance and of course luck.


If you want to look up any of the datasheets, you will need a (free) account at the CSRS online database. Look them up using the 43Y??? number. With a few exceptions, all of these 1943 USC&GS marks have the original 1943 description with the numbers converted to metric. The majority were last reported inspected in 1943.




Edited by Gonzo-YT
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Hey, I'm with Rog, Anthony! Where should we meet you? :-)


Seriously, spending some time looking for benchmarks on the Alaska Highway sounds like great fun. I'll take the September shift, after the mosquitoes go away. ;-)


I *love* your interactive panoramas. What a wonderful use of QuickTime VR!



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Your work has inspired me to get busy on the benchmarks between Anchorage and Talkeetna, Alaska. I drive that route at least twice a month (for the past twenty years) and I've never looked for the benchmarks until Fathers Day 2005. I spotted a few during the drive; now I have to stop and do final search and photo logs.


I'l be using your geocache guide to the Alaska Highway in several years, I hope! Keep up the diligent work!!!

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